Healing Through Stories

I have ancestors on both sides of my family tree who fought against each other in the American Civil War. My Dad’s family was from the South, my mom’s family was from the North. My ancestors fought against each other in this gruesome, brutal war. Stories about wars often paint one side as heroes and…

Research Summary: Andrew

Featured image: John Wesley Andrew sitting on his porch in Geneva, Nebraska Surname summary: I have decided to devote my research time each month to one direct line surname that exists in my five-generation pedigree. My surname for the month of November was Andrew. This is one of the few lines on my grandmother’s side…

I give and bequeath to my son William J Ray my yellow boy slave Allen until my son Benjamin F arrives at the age of twenty one years, at which time my boy Allen is to be set free.

Allen Ray

My brother recently uncovered the will for my ancestor, William Calvin Ray in Murray County, Georgia. In it he mentions “my yellow boy slave Allen.” this is my first encounter with a slave owner in my family tree. I have a lot of ancestors in the South, so I figured a slave owner would turn…

Little Jonnie Lathrop, or, Life and Death on the Prairie

This is my great-great-grandmother, Caroline Jane (Webber) Gile. I love this picture. Usually in pictures this old the people don’t really smile, and old photos of babies usually have them by themselves or in mother’s lap, and half the time baby is blurred out because she is moving too much for the camera to focus.…